Southwest Airlines says its website will soon handle online booking for unaccompanied minors and the airline will double the one-way service fee to $50.
Previously, when children ages 5 to 11 were flying without an accompanying passenger age 12 or older, the paperwork had to be completed at the airport, and the service fee — on top of the fare, of course — was $25 each way.
Southwest garners a lot of publicity for its “bags fly free policy,” but it has been upping fees for a variety of ancillary services, including unaccompanied minors, over the past year.
The airline charged no fee for unaccompanied minors until last year, when it began charging $25.
In increasing the fee for unaccompanied minors to $50 each way for tickets booked April 23 and later, Southwest says its fee for unaccompanied minors still will be among the lowest in the industry. The airline still will have to absorb some of the cost associated with handling young kids flying without adults, the carrier adds.
American Airlines charges an unaccompanied minor fee of $100 each way, and it can’t be booked on AA.com.